May 5 folk school lunch
From: John Wallace (walla003tc.umn.edu)
Date: Sat, 1 May 2004 19:12:24 -0500
May 1, 2004

To:    Folk School folks

From:    John Wallace

Invitation to:  Folk School lunch at John Wallace's office, Wednesday,
May 5, 11:30 to 1:00

         The purpose of these weekly lunch meetings is to dig into
Gandhi^Òs saying, "You must be the change you seek in the world."  They
are open, rolling conversations happening throughout this academic
year, where people are free to come when they can, and come at any time
between 11:30 and 1:00.

         You are welcome to bring a brown bag lunch. Juice and cookies
will be available.

         On May 5 we will continue to use the format for the
conversation where we read out two short texts that present contrasting
views on some dimension of "being the change you seek" and discuss.

         My office is 868 Heller Hall, on the U of MN West Bank campus.
Close to Wilson Library and the Humphrey Institute.

To give a little sense of what we have been doing recently, last week
I brought to the group something I had noticed, that when he is giving
examples of kinds of violence Gandhi often mentions "undue haste" along
with hurtful actions, words, and thoughts. This raises the question,
what would it be like to be peace, when undue haste is a part of war?
We discussed the following three texts in the light of this question:

Be patient toward all that is unresolved in your heart and try to love 
the questions themselves.  Do not seek the answers, which cannot be 
given you because you would not be able to live them.  And the point is
to live everything.  Live the questions now.  Perhaps you will
gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the 
answers.

Rainer Maria Rilke
Letters to a Young Poet, Letter No. 4

If I am not wise, then why must I pretend to be?  If I am lost, why 
must I pretend to have ready counsel for my contemporaries?  But 
perhaps the value of communication depends on the acknowledgement of 
one^Òs own limits, which, mysteriously, are also limits common to many 
others; and aren^Òt these the same limits of a hundred or a thousand
years ago?  And when the air is filled with the clamor of analysis and 
conclusion, would it be entirely useless to admit you do not 
understand?

Czeslaw Milosz, Visions from San Francisco Bay.  Used as the epigraph 
to Peter Lomas, The Limits of Interpretation (Northvale, New Jersey, 
Jason Aronson Inc., 1987).

The House Was Quiet and the World Was Calm

                    Wallace Stevens

The house was quiet and the world was calm.
The reader became the book; and summer night

Was like the conscious being of the book.
The house was quiet and the world was calm.

The words were spoken as if there was no book,
Except that the reader leaned above the page,

Wanted to lean, wanted much most to be
The scholar to whom his book is true, to whom

The summer night is like a perfection of thought.
The house was quiet because it had to be.

The quiet was part of the meaning, part of the mind:
The access of perfection to the page.

And the world was calm.  The truth in a calm world,
In which there is no other meaning, itself

Is calm, itself is summer and night, itself
Is the reader leaning late and reading there.

I look forward to seeing you on Wednesday.




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